Employee rights and responsibilities are important to ensure that all employees are made aware of what they should be doing. This promotes a safe and healthy work environment for themselves as well as their colleagues. Many people working in security don’t know about the rights that they have in the workplace, and some of their employers don’t know either. It is important that security guards understand the rights they are eligible for. This allows them to be aware of what they are and aren’t entitled to when working.
In this blog we will discuss and give you an understanding on security guard rights.
Security Guards Rights
Entitlement to Overtime
By working more than 40 hours a week, the law requires the company to pay you time and a half for each hour over forty hours. In some places there is also pay due if you work more than 10 hours from start to finish.
If you are working 50 or 60 hours a week but only getting paid for 40, you are being unfairly paid. Not only does the company owe you for the overtime they didn’t pay, but they may have to pay you compensation. This also applies if your company is paying you straight time for the hours over 40 per week.
Overtime Should Be Calculated on Total Hours Worked
If you work 30 hours at one job site and 20 hours at another job site and it is all with the same security guard company, then that counts as 50 hours worked. Depending on if that is in one week, that equals 10 hours of overtime. If the two sites have different pay rates, your overtime rate should be 1.5x your mixed rate. Your mixed rate is an average of the two rates. If you are just getting time and a half the lower hourly rate, you may have been underpaid.
Required to List Shift Hours Rather than Hours Worked
If shift hours are 8:00 to 5:00 but you actually work from 7:48 to 5:18, a company requirement to falsify your time logs cheats you out of a half an hour of work. The law requires companies to keep accurate time logs and not just shift logs. Whether this is happening to just you, or multiple employees, this is illegal and should be stopped.
Breaks are Deducted From Pay
Does your time logs show automatic deductions of a half hour or an hour for meal break, or some other break time, but you are generally working straight through? There is nothing illegal with your employer automatically deducting 30 or 60 minutes for your lunch break. However, if you don’t actually get to take it and aren’t paid, then you’re being wrongly paid. If there is a policy requiring you to report it when you don’t get to take lunch, make sure you report it. If you’re still not paid properly, this is a form of wage theft which goes against security guard rights.
Drive Time Between Sites
If you patrol multiple locations in a given day, you should be getting paid for the time it takes to drive between them. While commuting to work, and back home, is not paid any time you are traveling for work should be compensated at your normal rate.
Incorrect Time Reporting
If you are working from 7:30 to 5:15 but your supervisor is logging it as 8 to 5, you aren’t being paid properly. If one day you arrive at 8:05 and the next you’re there at 7:55 and both days he logs it as 8:00, that kind of rounding generally is permitted. The best way to ensure that your security guard rights aren’t getting abused is to track your exact hours worked every day.
Deducting Pay for Poor Discipline
Your employer may not dock time for workplace infractions. Employers have various options available to them when disciplining employees for workplace violations. However, they may not refuse to pay you for time you worked. You are entitled to your full pay for the hours you work, even if you don’t perform as your employer would like. If not, this is a violation of security guard rights.
Withholding Pay for Prep Time
Do you have to patrol the perimeter, talk to the guard whom you are relieving of his post and attend meetings? You are entitled to compensation for this time. Similarly, at the end of the day, do you have to complete paperwork, clean up and fill out reports. That should be paid too. If you are at work, doing things for your employer, you should be paid.
As a security guard, it is essential that you understand your rights. In many circumstances, you could be getting unfairly paid by your employer. It’s important to identify this mistreatment and search for the necessary compensation as a result. Whether it be the incorrect reporting of regular work and overtime or deduction of pay as a disciplinary measure, you are within your rights to report this to your organization and have it rectified appropriately.